To start with, I want to tell you that I am very interested in your belly dancing! How did you get into it?
I have danced all my life and in school I learnt kathakali a type of Indian dance where you have to stand bare foot and there are a lot of hand gestures that you have to learn. So I had learnt kathakali in school as well as all modern dancing, but I had never really gotten into one form of dancing specifically, but when I watched Amar Gamal, Amira Eid, Dalilah and Shakira killing it on stage doing their thing and making belly dancing look so fascinating, I thought, you know what, this is it – It’s the one for me and this is the dancing that I am going to get into.
Why do you think that art, as an outlet for self-expression and development is so important?
Without art, I don’t think you can progress in life. Art and nature teach you so much. Without art, my life would be just very basic and unfulfilling, like food without salt. If I am feeling down and need something to bring me up, I go to art. As soon as I start dancing, singing or writing, I just feel like all of my troubles are very, very small and the artist in me keeps getting bigger. I feel inspired to be powerful and larger than life. There is nothing that can stop me. Art has been my biggest support. I really don’t know how people inspire themselves without it!
Even people, who are not pursuing an art career, are somehow indulged in art because they know that it helps them. I am a model as well as an artist, so it that sense it It has helped me move my body in expressive ways that allows me to really live in my body when I am shooting. Dancing really has played a huge role in my modeling career.
You’re a model as well so you are immersed in a very image-obsessed industry. Are there times when you feel like your identity or self-worth is lost?
Self image is a very fragile part of a person's life therefore the foundations need to be very strong. Self image can only be lost when you're not certain about who you are and when you tend to believe in everyone else's beliefs and opinions other than your own. One has to know who they are and what they stand for. I for one am a very intuitive person and I believe in my intuitions over anyone else's opinions therefore I allow my inner guidance system to lead me everything I want to achieve in life. I also go back to my roots, Nepal, the values Ive been taught as a kid. If my visions resonate with people then great! But, if not, then that’s okay too. Everyone has a vision. If you don’t match with their vision, its no ones fault. I look at it as something that isn't meant for me.
That’s the way that I like to think about those sorts of things as well. How do you think that your Nepalese culture influences the way you express yourself?
My country is very small Yet the one thing that I feel when I go back is the love that I don’t feel in a lot of countries. Nepal isn't financially well established, we are still a developing country but the one thing that we have is an abundance of love. We love each other so much. You go to villages and a family will have 5 or 6 or 7 kids with no money, but despite the little money they have, they always know how to share and love each other, no matter how poor they are. Love is enough in my country. For me, I bring the love and humility of my country here.
As soon as I got here I was told I was very nice and people would tell me not to be so nice. I didn’t really understand what they were saying. Slowly I got to understand the tone of this city. Every city has a different vibe. People aren’t rude here, they are just more focused in their careers more than the love aspect, so I feel that what I bring from my country is so valuable to me and I pour it into everything I do.
Do you think that it is more difficult to cherish yourself in a big city like New York?
For me to come here and be by myself and not have anybody beside me, it does get a bit tough. You really need to learn to grow out of that and self love, which is also a good thing because over the years since living in New York, I really have learnt to love myself and cherish myself.
THAT’S SO LOVELY!
Yeah! It’s so important to love yourself and give yourself all of that nourishment because at the end of the day, no one is responsible to give you love, but you. I have learnt to teach myself how to love and give everything to me that I don’t receive from the world.
I REALLY LIKE THAT! What does it mean to you to be a free woman? Would you say to love yourself? To me, I think that a woman is someone that loves and respects herself.
I definitely agree with that. A free woman is someone who loves herself because only when you love yourself, can you look at someone else’s opinion as just an opinion and not feel like you have to please everyone.
A free woman is someone who knows herself and what she wants and goes for it despite what the rest of the world thinks about her. a free woman is perseverant. I cannot stress this enough because some people think that to be free is to be cool and travel the world. but being free begins from teaching your mind how to love yourself. It means being fearless. Fearless enough to dream BIG, know your purpose in life is and move towards it. It’s having a relationship with yourself and feeding your soul. At the end of the day, you are here to give your soul what it wants.
This sort of goes back to what we were talking about at the start, but do you think that your art fulfills your soul? Would your advice be to others to find something creative that they are passionate about and express themselves through art? I find that when I am drawing, writing or taking photographs or even doing these interviews, I feel enriched and fulfilled.
I want to ask you, what makes you feel like you are fulfilling your life purpose? What is the state that you are happiest in? Have you thought of that?
I guess when I am creating art. When I am happiest is when I have made something that I am so proud of – something that I have put my heart and soul into.
Exactly! Your soul was happy when you were creating it. My suggestion to others would be to feed your soul and do whatever makes you feel fulfilled and satisfied and like you are living a wholesome life. Follow your instincts and intuitions and overcome your fears. Life is about discovering who you are and overcoming your fears and you do this by facing them head on.
When I first came to New York, I didn’t really know how to deal with a lot of things so as soon as I would come face to face with an obstacle I would distract myself. My distractions would be men, alcohol, and bad company that would stall me until I lost track of my purpose. The Art of meditating has allowed me to get closer to who I truly am therefore now Im extremely focused and tackle my fears head on and move forward. Even if you fall, you at least learn to know why you fell and you can get back up and keep moving forward. Do not distract yourself. The biggest distractions in my life have made me realize that they weren't what I was looking for, i was rather looking for my purpose.